One of my ongoing writing projects is a soap opera. Just to make things interesting, it’s a collaborative project with six other writers at the Talliston Writers’ Circle. The idea is we write a chapter each per month about life in an imaginary shared house in Walthamstow. We each have a character inside the house, and every month that character has to interact in some way with one or more of the other characters. The only rule is that, if you interact with someone, you and that someone have to agree that that’s how the interaction would go down. You can thus force the other person into a position they may not want to be in, but as long as their character is behaving in a way that is consistent, they just have to accept things as they are and make the most of it.
It may come as no surprise that my character, Alex Daniels, is a vicious sociopath and would be murderer. He generally appears to wear an air of mildly bemused pessimism, but to date he has seriously disturbed: Lorna, the house’s resident and well meaning counsellor; Charlotte, who is on some sort of mysterious quest for a person called Ranulph; Hector, a middle aged and somewhat eccentric Englishman, much given to top hats and explosive adventures in baking; and Geoffrey, the amiable but slightly ethereal landlord of the property. Geoffrey doesn’t know it, but Alex has used Geoffrey to leverage an encounter with a near neighbour, Caroline West, who is Alex’s target for homicide.
Alex has the entire house wired for sound and vision, and is outraged when Charlotte, who seems to have some sort of spying/espionage background, finds some of his bugs and cameras, though she only finds the ones that are meant to be found and hasn’t a clue about the ones he doesn’t want found. Her room is directly below his, so he spends quite a lot of time with his hi-fi speakers on the floor pumping subsonics through her ceiling. The subsonics make her irritable, edgy, uncertain, and having difficulty concentrating as well as causing physical symptoms not dissimilar to early flu. Lorna made a brief and unsuccessful attempt to turn Alex into a project, and he’s not having any of that. He’s had a lot of analysts try to figure him out, and he’s not going to allow Lorna to get through the barricades. Hector merely finds Alex unsettling but doesn’t know quite why, and that unsettles him further because he prides himself on his equanimity. From Alex’s point of view, Geoffrey is just a buffoon, so he has no need to be unpleasant, until he discovers that Geoffrey has bugs and cameras scattered round the house as well. Things are not to Alex’s liking about that.
Two other characters inhabit the hallowed confines of 111 Edward Street. Todd Lawes is a previous resident, with a daughter to whom Geoffrey is godfather. Todd has fallen foul of the Russian mafia, who have burned down his house and nearly killed Todd, his wife Bex, and the daughter. Geoffrey has invited them to the house as a safe haven. Finally, there’s Cary Grant, hellraising member of ex boyband Male Order, and now celebrity restaurateur with a liking for samurai swords and weaponry. Both Cary and Hector are the brainchildren of two of the women in the group.
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. Alex has a hobby. Killing pigeons by causing them to explode in the street. It all happens here at http://111edwardstreet.livejournal.com/
My theory? Somebody in the house has to die. There’s going to be a murder within those four walls. I’m sure that can be arranged. Or a suicide. Something is going to go bad, don’t you think?